Some of my super high intensity leg training days are also known as “puke days” because I tend to work incredibly hard by adding more and more weight while continually striving to get stronger and stronger. Even though I love to train heavy and hard most of the time, it’s also important to change it up and mix in an active rest day. This is crucial for recovery so you can back off a little in order to keep improving with your physique goals. It’s also important to include a light day of training to avoid pushing yourself too hard which can result in overtraining. This is something you definitely want to avoid since it will wreak havoc with your fitness routine and set you back big time!
You can implement an active rest day by trying out this toning workout below which includes using lighter weights and higher reps for targeting your lower body. It’s an overall light leg day that still includes overloading the muscles but is done within safe boundaries to avoid pushing yourself too hard. Using the exercises located in ShapeFit’s exercise guides database, you can actually improve the muscles in your lower body without the pain and strain of a super heavy leg day. This workout will help to tone and firm your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves by providing the rest your muscles need to recover and grow.
The repetition range you will want to focus on will be around 15-20 reps with 2 overall sets per exercise. Try to train each exercise in the order shown below unless you run into an issue like having to wait for equipment in which case you can skip that specific exercise and move onto the next one but remember to come back to the ones you missed once the equipment is free and ready to use. 60-90 seconds will be your average rest time between sets and around 120 seconds of rest between exercises while you move from one to the other. This gives the workout a nice even pace which keeps things moving yet allows enough rest to recover from the movement before starting the next set.
You will burn out the quadriceps followed by the inner and outer thighs, then the hamstrings and finish up with the calves. By hitting the leg muscles with higher reps and limited rest periods, you enhance the burn and encourage failure which dictates a lighter and lighter weight being used until it burns so much that you actually don’t add any additional weight to the exercise. It might sound similar to the pre-exhaust method or the drop-set training technique but it is performed by pounding each muscle group with back-to-back exercises using light weights.
Light Leg Day Workout Routine
We will start off with lunges to begin this leg workout so you will want to begin with barbell lunges for your first 2 sets. Then you will move onto dumbbell side lunges and follow those up with some rear lunges and then move onto barbell squats. You will perform hack squats on the machine as your finishing quadriceps exercise in this workout routine.
The next part of this workout will target your hamstrings. You will start with lying leg curls, then move to seated leg curls, exercise ball curls and one leg cable kickbacks. This will really target your hamstrings and if you focus on stretching between sets, it will help you avoid any cramping issues. Staying fully hydrated by drinking enough water during your workout with also help.
Since you’re already next to the cable machine, we will stay here to perform inner and outer movements for your thighs. These exercises consist of attaching a cable to your ankle and doing leg raises both inward and outward to work the different areas of your thighs. You will then move from the cable machine over to the regular thigh machine to perform the very common movements called abductors and adductors.
To end your training session you will hit the calves but make sure you alternate the inner and outer area by doing a set with your toes in and your heels out along with doing a few sets in the opposite manner with your toes out and your heels in. This will enhance the inner and outer calf muscles which help to keep your calf development perfectly symmetrical. The exercises you will include are seated calf raises, barbell calf raises, single dumbbell calf raises and you will finish with hack machine calf raises.
To help alleviate the burn, make sure to stretch each area being trained during your rest period between exercises. Angle your calf stretches in order to hit the inner and outer areas. Do not bounce during each stretch and make sure to hold them without any movement for 15-20 seconds because these are meant to be static stretches and are much safer.
I recommend including this active rest workout routine during a week when you need time to take a break from all of your super intense training sessions. This will probably be 1-2 times per month or more if you feel tired and burned out. Remember, it’s very important to listen to your body and take a break when you feel worn out, so include an active rest workout to help fuel your progress so you can reach your fitness goals faster!